De Lima praises Palaweños in plebiscite vote
MANILA, Philippines—Senator Leila de Lima on Wednesday commended Palawan residents for their disapproval of a plebiscite that would have divided the province into three separate entities.
The opposition senator said the move was a testament to the province’s respect for democracy and that the citizens themselves are aware of what they have to do for the betterment of their province and territory.
“The people of Palawan have spoken. I laud and congratulate Palaweños for this historic victory and embodiment of democracy,” said De Lima in a statement.
“Sa kabila ng matinding udyok mula sa mga nasa kapangyarihan para baguhin ang nakagisnan, nanindigan ang mga kababayan natin sa Palawan kung ano ang sa tingin nila ay makatarungan at tunay na makabubuti sa kanilang lalawigan. Mulat nilang tinimbang at pinagdesisyunan ang nararapat sa kanilang pamamalakad at para sa kanilang kinabukasan.”
(Despite the intense pressure of those in power to change what has been traditionally put in place, our countrymen in Palawan stood firm to what they think is just and what is right for the sake of their province. They actively decided on what kind of governance they deserve and what kind of future they want.)
The Commission on Elections (Comelec) Provincial Plebiscite Board of Canvassers, on Tuesday, proclaimed that the “no” vote won in the plebiscite that asked residents to ratify Republic Act No. 11259 that would have split Palawan into three provinces.
Comelec official results showed that 172,304 voted “no” to divide Palawan into three provinces while 122,223 voted for “yes,” as of 5:00 pm, March 16 while the plebiscite drew a 60.6 percent voters turnout.
President Rodrigo Duterte signed RA No. 11259 into law on April 5, 2019, and that would have divided the province into Palawan del Norte, Palawan Oriental, and Palawan del Sur.
De Lima, who’s a staunch Duterte critic, feared that splitting Palawan into three will help China in its unabashed expansion in the West Philippine Sea.
Political analyst Anders Corr, whose expertise is on China’s influence operations, earlier said that China will welcome the breakup of Palawan as it poses great use in terms of military power and resource control.
“As early as 2018, top international political risk analyst Anders Corr already warned that splitting Palawan would end up benefitting China amid its continued encroachment in the West Philippine Sea. As such, such a move by the Palaweños is beneficial for Filipinos,” said De Lima.
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